A 5-run first inning put the Kane County Cougars in a bigger hole than they could climb out of Tuesday night at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark as they were beaten by the visiting Beloit Snappers 9-5 to begin a four-game series.
Brian Smith (2-3) walked Daniel Robertson with one out in the first inning, and Robertson was stationed at first base with two outs when Renato Nunez bounced to third on what appeared to be an inning-ending groundout. Jeimer Candelario fielded cleanly but overthrew Dan Vogelbach at first to extend the inning.
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Matt Olson made the Cougars (30-41, 0-5) pay with a 2-run single to right to drive in Robertson and Nunez. Olson scored when Ryan Mathews slugged a 2-run homer to put the Snappers (47-28, 4-1) up by 4. Nick Rickles followed that with a solo shot to cap the rally.
Smith was replaced by Lendy Castillo in the second as Castillo worked the next 4 innings while surrendering 3 runs. Mathews walked to begin the fourth and came across on a double-play groundball off the bat of Dayton Alexander. Olson singled home a run in the fifth while Mathews came through with an RBI double to tack on another run.
Seth Streich (8-4) benefitted from the run support as he lasted 61⁄3 innings, giving up 3 runs. Willson Contreras's RBI fielder's choice put the Cougars on the board in the second, scoring Candelario. Albert Almora doubled in the sixth and scored on an error by Nunez, and Oliver Zapata singled in Contreras in the seventh inning.
Nathan Dorris pitched 31⁄3 innings out of the bullpen for the Cougars, allowing a ninth-inning run on a Robertson single. Tyler Vail and Austin House each coughed up a run out of the Beloit bullpen as Contreras and Candelario each drove home a man with a groundout.
The Cougars and Snappers battle in the second of their four-game set Wednesday at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark with a noon start. Right-hander Jose Rosario (0-3) starts for the Cougars against fellow righty Derek DeYoung (4-3).